#30 – Mega Man Battle Network 2 –
An under appreciated series by too many, I’ve enjoyed the Mega Man Battle Network since the very beginning. The series has always had charm to it, and it always feels like a fun place to be. You can easily lose a lot of time enjoying the world and talking to characters, along with the increasingly expansive and immensely enjoyable battle system. With Battle Network 2, the fights were improved, along with the exploration and puzzles. The second entry in the series came with a much larger world, plenty more bosses and enemies, and the ability to connect two systems together to battle with friends. The entire Mega Man universe has always been a favorite of mine, with so many unique games sprouting within it, and the Mega Man Battle Network series is just as successful as any other entry in the franchise.
#29 – Super Smash Bros. Melee
If you’ve ever had a room full of people with a GameCube, you’ve probably had some sort of experiences with Smash Bros. One of the most party-friendly games ever made, it’s hard to imagine a group of friends not having a good time with Super Smash Bros. With tons of characters to unlock, lots of stages to see, and a huge amount of other extra content, once Melee went into your console, that disk probably didn’t see the light of day for a while. If you’ve somehow missed out on beating your friends to death with a Jigglypuff, you should remedy that immediately.
#28 – Rock Band
While we’re on the trail of having friends around, what would a party be without Rock Band? Accessible to newcomers, and still wildly enjoyable for experts, anyone you allow inside your home will probably get something fun out of bouncing around with plastic instruments. The experience of having three or four close friends in a room and blasting “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” and “Ballroom Blitz” is basically unmatched by anything else you could possibly be doing.
#27 – Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
Ratchet and Clank has always been a favorite series of mine. Every game introduces us to a ton of crazy new weapons, and a huge world to run, jump, and climb around in. The second game manages to take just about everything the first game did and kick it up a notch. The weapons actually upgrade through use, you can find way more hidden things in the environments, and there’s just more optional stuff to do in general. The icing on the cake? The Insomniac Museum, a hidden area that takes you step by step through some of the development process, showing how things work and why, as well as showing you what didn’t make it into the game. This lets you take a fascinating peek behind the curtain and adds a friendly relationship with the developers that games don’t usually implement within themselves. Additionally packed with a “skill point” system that acts as achievements that actually reward you in-game, Ratchet and Clank was way ahead of its time, and Going Commando still holds up as one of the best action platformers ever made.
#26 – Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 is a wonderful first person adventure packed with so many good ideas it’s hard to see someone passing it up. Valve is known for not putting out game often, but when they do, they nail it. On top of having some of the most believable characters in video games, the world and puzzles in Half-Life are a special breed that are rarely done better anywhere else. The universe in Half-Life is built around obstacles that you have to figure out how to pass. If you’re looking for a world built to challenge your brain with innovations in game design, while still delivering a good shooter, Half-life 2 is your best bet. Also, the Gravity Gun should probably be in every game. Forever.
#25 – Super Meat Boy
One of the most excellently refined platformers ever made, Super Meat Boy blew my mind from beginning to end. As a huge platforming fan, Super Meat Boy offers a challenge to the best of the best. The controls are tighter than just about any platformer out there, and there are a metric ton of levels to play, an all of them are exciting to master. Add over a dozen secret characters to unlock, secret exits in levels, and a vast online assortment of additional levels once you finish the original 200 or so, and you’ve got one of the best games released this generation, and one of the best platformers ever made anywhere.
#24 – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Symphony of the Night starts you off in a huge castle with no direction and wishes you the best of luck. From there, its up to you to explore and figure out where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You’ll come across multitudes of enemies, and as many weapon and secrets powers to take them out. Your exploration doesn’t go unnoticed, by searching the castle you’ll find new ways to get around the environment. Can’t reach the ledge? Find a double jump. Stuck at a grate? Turn into mist and phase through it. There are literally hundreds of rooms to travel through, and each has something waiting for you to discover. And just as soon as you reach 100% completion? You’re not even close to being done.
#23 – Dark Souls
Dark Souls could easily be mistaken for Demon’s Souls at first glance. The games are radically similar, and are most fantastic 3D adventure games. What sets Dark Souls a bit above Demon’s however, is its vast, interconnected open world. While Demon’s Souls had a very specific level structure (1-1, 1-2, 2-1, etc.) the is no such delineation found in Dark Souls. The entire world is connected together, and as you traverse it, you’ll unlock hidden shortcuts to previous areas. It is essentially a modern Castlevania redesigned in 3D. Every area I stumbled across was just as memorable as the last, offering more incredible enemies and bosses to fight, and beautiful scenery throughout. Dark Souls may be tough to begin, but once you learn its rules you’ll be sucked into one of the most expansive adventures in video games.
#22 – Braid
Braid is the most brilliant 2D puzzler I’ve ever come across. Mixing platforming with some mind bending puzzle design turned out to suit me perfectly. The solutions rarely come at first glance, and require you to sit and think about the rules until everything falls into place. You aren’t allowed to get too comfortable though, every world has a completely different ruleset about how the puzzles work. All of them have a basic theme of “affecting time” but that’s about the extent of their relationship. The story goes to some very dark places, ending in a crescendo that I can’t imagine forgetting. Throw in one of the best soundtracks this generation, and some beautiful, color-filled graphics, and Braid is one of the most memorable experiences you can have in video games, regardless of what you typically enjoy playing.
#21 – Metal Gear Solid
The beginning of one of the most beloved franchises in gaming still holds up today as one of the greatest games ever made. Metal Gear Solid was one of the first video games of its kind, combining elements of movies with games to create a weird, lovable hybrid. With Solid, Hideo Kojima was given nearly full permission to let his ideas run wild. Creating one of the most complex worlds in gaming, Kojima began a masterpiece of a series that spawned a number of excellent sequels. The original game still holds up as one of the best in the franchise, with incredible characters, and some great boss battles. The first time you realize that you have to actually unplug a controller from the console is when you realize you’re onto something really special.
Image Sources: news.softpedia.com neoseeker.com bbqchickenrobot.com destructoid.com sectorw.wikia.com supermeatboy.com omega-warzard.blogspot.com ontologicalgeek.com store.steampowered.com inquisitr.com